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Prebiotics & Probiotics for Diverticulitis

Prebiotics & Probiotics for Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis, an inflammatory condition caused by small pockets that develop in the colon, is both common and painful. The diverticula pockets are particularly susceptible to bacterial growth, causing symptoms of mild to severe pain and discomfort. Those suffering from diverticulitis may experience left-sided abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rectal bleeding, chills, and fever.

What Causes Diverticulitis? 

Diverticulitis is believed to be caused by multiple factors including errors in diet, a sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition, abuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and excessive use of antibiotics – even though traditionally antibiotics have been used to treat the bacterial infections that collect in the diverticula pockets. But now there is growing evidence that points to pre and probiotics as potential treatments for the debilitating condition.

Why Prebiotics? 

Prebiotics can help establish a healthy gut environment. Prebiotics are specific foods that encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria throughout the digestive tract creating a healthy microbiome – an environment rich in a variety of good gut bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis

A healthy gut is a prerequisite for regular bowel movements and a well-functioning colon. By including foods known to breed good gut bacteria we may be able to protect the colon from inflammation and susceptibility to conditions like diverticulitis.

Probiotics for Diverticulitis & Inflammation 

In a 2022 study exploring the use of probiotics (with and without antibiotics), researchers suggest that alterations of the gut microbiota are involved in the physiopathology of diverticulitis. They found that introducing specific healthy gut bacteria (probiotics) reduced inflammation in the colon. The study also observed a reduction in cell death and most importantly a reduction in aerobic bacteria in the colon. Giving patients new hope, the study proposes that probiotics may be effective in the treatment of diverticulitis by encouraging the restoration of a healthy microbiome.

According to the study, “these probiotic strains were effective in preventing the development of the experimentally induced (rats) acute diverticulitis through the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects and have affected gut microbiota, so they can be considered a potential option in treating acute diverticulitis disease”. 

The study concludes that probiotics can be used in the treatment of diverticular disease in order to restore a healthy colonic microenvironment since they have the ability to modify the localized and persistent inflammation in patients who are between acute bouts of diverticulitis. Additionally, probiotics can act on symptom development in individuals affected by uncomplicated diverticular disease. 

Which Probiotics Work Best? 

Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis are common probiotics that have been shown to reduce inflammation, restore antioxidant status in the colon, decrease apoptosis (cell death), and reduce aerobic bacteria in the colon, according to the above study. 

These strains are commonly found in quality probiotics available from pharmacies, health food outlets, and online. However, due to high stomach acid, bacteria may be destroyed before arriving in the digestive tract so look for quality products with a time-release delivery.

Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis can also be found naturally in lacto-fermented foods such as natural yogurts, sourdough bread, and lacto-fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, fermented beets, etc. Commercial yogurts may not have enough probiotics on their own, so choose good quality yogurts with different strains and mix them together, or make your own at home. Supporting the gut with good quality prebiotic foods will help probiotic communities inside the gut to thrive.

Gut Health & Diverticulitis 

Gut health is an essential part of general health and vitality. Diverticulitis and other diseases of the gut and colon may be avoided and even treated by the simple introduction of pre and probiotics. By feeding the gut both pre and probiotics, those suffering from diverticulitis may have finally found a natural treatment that supports good gut health and alleviates discomfort and painful symptoms.

 

Rebecca Bermeister

author

Rebecca Bermeister

DISCLAIMER

This blog is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice. The content provided is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. The claims made regarding specific products in this blog are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Rebecca Bermeister

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